Oola Distillery threw a party Thursday night to celebrate the opening of its tasting and sales room in its production facility at 14th and Union. Visitors were offered tastes of the distillery’s first batches of Washington grain vodka and gin — and could take a bottle (or two) home from the shop’s first day of retail sales.
We first reported on the plans for Oola in 2010 as the old Panzanella Bakery was set for transformation. We talked to owner Kirby Kallas Lewis this spring as Oola took shape. Since, plans for restaurants Lucky 8 and Zoe have come together to be part of the former bakery space.
Thursday’s opening marked the first tasting at one of the two craft distilleries currently operating on Capitol Hill. While Sun Liquor Distillery on E Pike opened its bar earlier this year, its first production batches are just now becoming available. We’ll have more on that soon.
Kallas Lewis says that Oola is now in full operational mode and ready for visits to its tasting and retail room throughout the week. Oola will be open 2 to 8p Tuesday to Thursday and Friday and Saturday from 2 to 10. A bottle of gin runs $32.95, the vodka, $29.95.
Additionally, you can find Oola’s product on the shelves of local gin joints including 15th Ave E’s Liberty. The distiller says he’ll need to move thousands of bottles per month to break even but is hoping to bring the production goals down as he and his staff of five becomes more efficient at the craft.
In the meantime, Capitol Hill appears eager to help Oola fine tune its spirits.